This week we are all back to reality after a much-needed relaxing break. For my second semester at the Culinary Institute of America, my classmates and I are in intensive 3-week block courses. My first six weeks are learning how to identify and fabricate all kinds of meat and seafood, which is almost entirely out of my realm of knowledge. From working alongside and cooking with all sorts of great produce for years at Norman’s, I feel like somewhat of a pro with vegetables, but working with meat is a different story. This class is definitely not for the faint of heart, yet there is still something oddly beautiful about understanding the intricacies of the meat we consume. We are lucky enough at this school to be supplied with extremely high-quality meats, and this week we worked with prime steaks laden with stunning marbling and color. The Chef instructor for this class was raised in a butcher shop owned by his father and grandfather. His knowledge of animal anatomy is so impressive. He is able to find the tendons and joints immediately and handles the meat with such attentiveness and care that you feel inspired to do the same.
After these 6 weeks, I will move on to high-volume production cooking, like catering and banquet style. This semester is already significantly more intense than the last, and I’m sure this intensity will continue to rise as I go on. It is exciting to take on new challenges and feel the skills solidifying each day you practice. This meat and seafood information will also be extremely helpful to me when talking about the gourmet meat items we carry at Norman’s now, as I understand why each cut of meat is valuable and useful in its own way. I will continue posting each week about my experience here, so stay tuned for more Culinary adventures.